A systematic review of historical and current trends in Chagas disease Review uri icon


  • Introduction: Chagas disease (CD) is caused by Trypanosoma cruzi. When acquired, the disease develops in stages. For diagnosis, laboratory confirmation is required, and an extensive assessment of the patient’s health should be performed. Treatment consists of the administration of trypanocidal drugs, which may cause severe adverse effects. The objective of our systematic review was to analyze data contained in the CD published case reports to understand the challenges that patients and clinicians face worldwide. Materials and methods: We performed a systematic review following the PRISMA guidance. PubMed database was explored using the terms ‘American trypanosomiasis’ or ‘Chagas disease’. Results were limited to human case reports written in English or Spanish. A total of 258 reports (322 patients) were included in the analysis. Metadata was obtained from each article. Following this, it was analyzed to obtain descriptive measures. Results: From the sample, 56.2%25 were males and 43.8%25 were females. Most cases were from endemic countries (85.4%25). The most common clinical manifestations were fever during the acute stage (70.0%25), dyspnea during the chronic stage in its cardiac form (53.7%25), and constipation during the chronic stage in its digestive form (73.7%25). Most patients were diagnosed in the chronic stage (72.0%25). Treatment was administered in 56.2%25 of cases. The mortality rate for the acute stage cases was 24.4%25, while for the chronic stage this was 28.4%25. Discussion: CD is a parasitic disease endemic to Latin America, with increasing importance due to human and vector migration. In this review, we report reasons for delays in diagnosis and treatment, and trends in medical practices. Community awareness must be increased to improve CD’s diagnoses; health professionals should be appropriately trained to detect and treat infected individuals. Furthermore, public health policies are needed to increase the availability of screening and diagnostic tools, trypanocidal drugs, and, eventually, vaccines. © The Author(s), 2021.

publication date

  • 2021-01-01